The gaming-headset market is crowded, but Razer wants to convince you to try out the latest entry in its ManO’War lineup.
Razer ManO’War 7.1
Availability: Out now
Compatibility: 3.5mm/USB for use with PC, consoles, smartphones, and more
The Razer ManO’War 7.1 is a wired variation of the wireless ManO’War that the company introduced in 2015. As is standard with Razer’s headsets, it has an elegant style and a retractable microphone. The hardware manufacturer is hoping to set the ManO’War 7.1 apart from the crowd with its excellent earcups, its capable 50mm audio drivers, and its accurate surround sound.
What you’ll like
Nice, booming sound and impressive 7.1 surround
Razer has always had respectable audio performance in its Kraken headsets, but the ManO’War is a clear improvement. It provides better bass, it is better at separating frequencies at high volumes, and it provides an experience that is richer than the less expensive Razer headsets. In fact, the ManO’War 7.1 does a lot to justify stepping out of the sub-$100 range.
The difference is the surround sound quality. Out of the many headsets I’ve used, the new Razer headset has among the most accurate 7.1 audio that I’ve heard. When demons approach me in Doom, it sounds like they are creeping up behind me, and locating the origin of enemy gunfire becomes second nature when using the ManO’War.
This is Razer’s most comfortable headset yet
I’ve also never had issues with Razer’s comfort, but its engineers have continued to tweak its designs to make the ManO’War even more comfortable than last year’s wireless model. The plastic body ensure the device is incredibly lightweight. But its material is also rigid and strong enough to hold itself in place.
The headset avoids the dreaded wobble due to head movement. Instead, if I lean side-to-side or backward and forward, it stays right where it should. That’s a key to enabling players to focus on what they’re playing instead of what they’re wearing.
Stylish and flexible
You shouldn’t feel shy about wearing the ManO’War 7.1 outside of the house. The headset comes with a USB dongle that you can plug the 3.5mm headphone jack into on PC to get surround sound. But having the system primarily use the standard jack means that you can plug the headset into your phone or the controllers for your Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
And since the ManO’War looks so sleek and its mic doesn’t stick out to the side, you can feel confident that it won’t look out of place in public.
What you won’t like
No play/pause controls
The ManO’War is a really great headset for its price, but it’s missing a feature that I think is key for any device with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and that’s in-line play/pause controls.
While I think you can wear the headset out of the house, I hate not being able to pause what I’m listening to without pulling my phone out of my pocket. Even on PC, the play/pause controls can save you a few seconds, and I miss that convenience.
Too easy to hit volume
Finally, I think it’s too easy to hit the volume knob on the cord. When it rubs up against my shirt, it often turns the sound way too loud or way too low, and either one of these sucks. It’s not as bad on the ManO’War as it is on the Kraken, but it’s still not great.
Razer is pretty smart at filling in slots in its roster of products. When it comes to gaming headsets, I think the ManO’War 7.1 makes a lot of sense for people who want even better audio and comfort than you get from the Kraken or a lot of other sub-$100 headsets. At the same time, it provides a USB or 3.5mm solution, which means it’s compatible with far more devices than the wireless ManO’War. All of this makes the ManO’War stand out as its own product, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a great-sounding headset in the sub $150 range.
Razer provided GamesBeat with a sample of the ManO’War for the purposes of this review. It’s available now for $120.